The Answers to Frequently Asked Budgeting Questions

Answers to Common Budgeting Questions

Mid adult woman reading bills while making online payment at home
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If life were cut-and-dry, budgeting would be a piece of cake. However, life is unpredictable and it's those unexpected events in life that can derail the best intentions and the best of all possible budgets.

The primer below answers the most common questions about how to keep your personal budget in step with the real world.

How Do I Budget for One-Time Expenses?

Not every bill falls neatly into your "monthly expenses" category.

You'll need to budget for occasional or seasonal outlays. These include such things as holidays, birthdays, anniversaries and medical expenses including and an annual doctor and dental visit. 

How Can I Track My Many Savings Goals?

Based on age and lifestyle, people save for all kinds of reasons. You might be putting money aside for retirement, for paying your annual property taxes, for a trip abroad, a major home renovation, your children's college fund, or simply because you want to splurge on a big-ticket piece of clothing. Whatever your need or desire, it's important to track your progress towards all your goals.

Does It Cost Anything to Make a Budget?

There are numerous spreadsheets, software programs and tools available today designed to help people with their personal budgets. While some of these tools cost as much as $95, for the most part, they are free.

How Much Do I Need To Retire?

The economy is tricky and can be ruled by unforeseen factors (e.g., no one expected the crash of '08) so it's often hard to determine how much money to set aside for retirement.

This article can help you figure it out. Meanwhile, keep in mind these two rules of thumb -- the Multiply by 25 rule and the 4 percent rule -- when planning for your retirement.

What's an Emergency Fund?

From  AARP magazine to money management books and websites, the term "emergency fund" is thrown around like a hot potato.

An emergency fund is one of the cornerstones of personal finance and can provide a lot of peace of mind. No one, no matter how young or old, should ever be without one because the fund (by its very name) is an unexpected and immediate necessity.

What Are The MOST IMPORTANT Items I Should Budget For?

If you feel overwhelmed by the number of things you need to save for -- a wedding, a new refrigerator, a house -- then take a deep breath and focus on a few, critical top-priority items. Budgeting, when done right, is not about accounting for every small thing. It's creating a viable plan for you.

How Can I Earn More Money?

If having, and sticking to, a budget is not working out (and you're coming up short) there are side-income opportunities for full-time employees working 40 hours a week. If you're willing to work evenings and weekends the extra money will put you closer to meeting your budgeting goals.